Opinion

HAVE YOUR SAY: Way to go, CVRD — don't surrender to demands

Kudos to the Comox Valley Regional District board for not caving in to 3L Development's demands and emotional blackmail that they be allowed to put in high-density development along the Duncan Bay Main logging road next to the Puntledge River. Interesting that public access to Stotan Falls only became a liability issue when 3L didn't initially get its own way. Such a decision would have been an ecological and urban planning disaster, and would have set a dangerous precedent in public policy by allowing 3L and other bullies to push us around.

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society's (MARS) annual open house celebration of National Wildlife Week was a resounding success, thanks to the efforts of so many people. We would like to thank Re/Max for the use of their big tent and the ScotiaBank for the use of their easy-up. Thanks also, to Jack Minard and Willow for attending with info about Tsolum River Restoration, Ian Moul for the WiTS (Wildlife Tree Stewardship) display, and Loys Maingon from Nature Comox Valley. We especially want to recognize Wendy Kotilla and her Youth in Ecological Restoration participant for traffic control. We want to acknowledge Heavenly Goodies' contribution of Eagle Cookies and especially Gary and Tundra, the wolf/dog that made a special journey down to MARS from Alert Bay. Of course, the event would never have happened without the many great volunteers who helped throughout the day and, especially, all those generous people who donated to our book, plant, and bake sales. We had a record 508 attending this event, which raised money so we can help wildlife recover. Don't forget our Walk for Wildlife during Earth Day on April 21. Visit our website at www.wingtips.org. From the bottom of our hearts, we salute you!

The Aspen Park Elementary School community would like to extend sincere thanks to the many folks who contributed to the success of the Art for the Outdoors silent auction held in March. The money raised will go towards our Schoolyard Improvement Project. Congratulations to the students for creating some beautiful artwork that was on display that evening.

It was in the summer of 1976, when our family witnessed the greatest and most memorable event. A busker was holed up in his manmade jukebox. It was a moment in our family trip never to be forgotten. He was playing different instruments to the great delight of our children. I would recommend before drafting any street entertainment bylaw to consult with the city of San Francisco. Year-long buskers can be seen there and heard at the foot of the great bridge and where the tram is hand pushed around for its trip back to the downtown area. The jukebox busker was the first memory that came back to my mind when I read the article regarding busking bylaw regulations. The picture as seen was the highlight of a wonderful family trip; since that delightful experience I always appreciate any busker. However, as we all need bylaws, buskers need bylaws, too. I just wonder if the previous spot which was occupied by the old movie theater on Fifth Street would be a great spot for that purpose. May we invite some excellent entertainment where once we spent many hours watching the real buskers … the great movie stars of the previous century.

On March 27 the Nanaimo Daily News published Don Olsen’s letter to the editor, which basically asserted that First Nations people are stupid, lazy, uninventive, irresponsible, underachievers, incapable of taking care of themselves; whose only “fix” would be to make them “equals” by vetoing “traditional use and cultural nonsense,” educating “their children to become modern citizens,” discouraging them from “finding their identity and source of pride” from their ancestors, “turning off the taps” and letting them “stand or fall on their own account.” I won’t bother to address the ridiculous and hurtful claims made by Mr. Olsen (am sure others will), except to say that apparently Mr. Olsen is unaware that his notions have been attempted before! Assimilation, outlawing traditions, child abductions and internment in mission schools ... basically cultural genocide, are part of Canada’s history; to most horrific results! And those policies are just some of the wrongs Canada’s FN people have survived. The fact that FN’s have been recovering and seeking their due rights and justice is what really seems to be bothering Mr. Olsen; and unfortunately, he is not alone. His letter brings to light the ignorant, naïve, and hostile sentiments that lurk in the dark corners of non-aboriginal society. As most non-aboriginal people can attest, we hear similar sentiments creep out of the shadows on occasion. I would bet Mr. Olsen espoused his vile opinions to family, friends, and anyone else who would listen! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into stunned silence when a family member, colleague, friend, acquaintance or stranger has spouted such racist opinions, jokes or slurs. Wanting to avoid conflict, it seemed simpler to just ignore them. I have watched others do the same. One day I realized that being silent was part of the problem. It was tantamount to consent for such behavior, and leads people (like Mr. Olsen) to delusions that their views are worthy of further broadcast. Without offense or opposition, they assume their comments are acceptable. So I resolved to be silent no more! Silent no more in the presence of ignorant or racist opinions, comments, jokes or slurs. Silent no more while our government ignores FN’s pleas for justice and equality. Silent no more during never-ending negotiations for settlements that are long overdue; or while millions are spent on delay tactics and legal fees rather than resolutions. Silent no more while FN people and communities continue to suffer! Instead we can find our voice and, with respect and dignity, seize the opportunity to open up a dialogue; or shut them down if need be! Most just do not seem to understand the historical and legal relationship between FN’s and Canada; let alone the human aspect. I encourage all non-aboriginals to be silent no more! We need to speak up and ‘work with our people’ towards understanding and supporting the aspirations of FN people. We are all much better off with healthy, educated, self-determined, culturally empowered, economically viable, contributing First Nations! That is the “fix” Mr. Olsen! Please pledge to be silent no more at www.facebook.com/SilentNoMoreCanada. Let your voice be heard!

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